Businesses that offer carry-out, delivery, and drive-through food and beverage service may continue to operate those parts of the businesses, but eating and drinking inside bars and restaurants is temporarily prohibited. This weekend, Allegheny County received its first confirmed cases of coronavirus. As of March 15, there are four confirmed cases within the county.
“Ensuring the health and safety of Pennsylvanians is the highest priority as the state grapples with a growing number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, and as the virus continues to spread, it is in the best interest of the public to encourage social distancing by closing restaurants and bars temporarily,” said Wolf in a press release.
According to the release, the Wolf Administration will continue to monitor coronavirus in Pennsylvania, and at the end of 14 days will reevaluate and decide whether continued mitigation is necessary. The Wolf administration has also indicated to businesses that financial assistance opportunities are available to mitigate the financial impact of closures.
Under the guidance of @PAHealthDept, @GovernorTomWolf ordered all restaurants and bars in Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties to close their dine-in facilities at 12:01 AM on Monday, March 16, to help stop the spread of COVID-19. https://t.co/n1fH9uVlmA— Office of the Governor (@GovernorsOffice) March 16, 2020
In addition to Allegheny County, Wolf is also temporarily shuttering dine-in bars and restaurants in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties, which are all in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
“I understand that this is disruptive to businesses as well as patrons who just want to enjoy themselves, but in the best interest of individuals and families in the mitigation counties, we must take this step," said Wolf in a statement.
Businesses that don't follow the closure order could face enforcement actions.
Before the closing of most bars and restaurants in Allegheny County, the region had already seen hundreds of events canceled over the last few days. Earlier today, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said the city will adhere to advice from the Centers of Disease Control and will lower the maximum occupancy levels of all events from 250 to 50 individuals. Today, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald also urged non-essential businesses, like bars, gyms, theaters, child-care centers, golf clubs, and hair salons, should close or implement alternative work strategies for the next two weeks starting March 16, to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said the closing of bars and restaurants will help Pennsylvanians practice "social distancing" to stop the spread of coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19.
“Social distancing is essential as more Pennsylvanians are testing positive for COVID-19,” said Levine in a press release. “By taking these steps now, we can protect public health and slow the spread of this virus.”
Everyone has a role to play to reduce and slow transmission of #COVID19. Social distancing is one way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This means avoiding crowded places and maintaining distance from others when possible. More prevention tips: https://t.co/bUyobRHpCE. pic.twitter.com/AeEZMPO4oY— CDC (@CDCgov) March 15, 2020
Pennsylvania is not the only state to take drastic measures to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Earlier today, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine closed all restaurants and bars in the neighboring state in response to coronavirus.